These idyllic volcanic islands north of Sicily in the Tyrrhenian Sea are a beautiful getaway from the bustle of urban Italy. Most visitors will stay on the main island Lipari, which has plenty of hotels and ferry connections to the other islands.
Vulcano is a popular destination for its splendid beaches and its sulfuric mud baths, said to have rejuvenating qualities. The ground and shoreline of Vulcano is full of vents that release steam and sulfur gas from beneath the earth’s crust creating jacuzzi-like jets in the sea, and spectacular sulfuric crystals on the land. The main volcano is a steep climb – and watch out for steam vents and scalding rocks – but worth it for the spectacular views over the other islands.
The most famous of the islands is the remote active volcano Stromboli, the only volcano in the world known to be active throughout recorded history. Guided trips near the crater are popular at night, when the glowing magma spewing out makes for fantastic and eerie images.
From Palermo the Ustica Lines June through September hydrofoil crossings take just shy of 4 hours. There are also SNAV hydrofoils from Naples in season, and year-round Siremar ferries from Naples and Milazzo. Book ahead in high season.